Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Herrera's bullying tactic loses again

Like the punitive cost $52,000 cost claim they tried unsuccessfully to collect from us in the Bicycle Plan litigation, last week Judge Sullivan threw out the city's $64,144.29 cost claim in another CEQA case, the Market and Octavia Plan litigation. That means the city is batting zero for two when its bullying tactic against CEQA litigants is challenged in court.

Four years ago the City Attorney pounced gleefully on a court decision (St. Vincent's School for Boys v. City of San Rafael) that it thought would allow the city to collect costs on CEQA cases for preparing administrative records, even when petitioners elect to prepare it themselves to save money, which is their right under CEQA. Making cost claims against public interest litigants---even threatening to make such claims---of course has an intimdating, deterrent effect on future CEQA litigants---neighborhood and environmental groups fighting developers and/or cities like San Francisco for failing to follow the law on proposed projects that threaten the environment.

Turns out that the city's interpretation of St. Vincent's was nothing but wishful thinking, since that case involved special circumstances. In the Market and Octavia cost claim, the city even tried to get thousands of dollars for retrieving documents that both the Public Records Act and the Sunshine Ordinance require the city to provide for, at most, ten cents a page! Getting copies of public documents was like pulling teeth in both cases.

Reviewing Dennis Herrera's record: First, he now says he advised the city in the beginning to do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan, but his advice was ignored by the mayor and the board of supervisors. For years he then aggressively pursued the Bicycle Plan litigation that he knew was likely to be unsuccessful, apparently for political reasons. You can't get elected mayor by antagonizing city progs, especially the bike people. On top of aggressively pursuing the litigation, he tried three times unsuccessfully to get the injunction lifted even as the city was working on the court-ordered EIR on the Plan, capping off his unprincipled behavior with a bogus $52,000 cost claim against us that Judge Kahn threw out two months ago.

How did San Francisco's "progressivepolitical community react to the City Attorney's unprincipled behavior? We were pilloried for delaying the "improvements" promised by the Bicycle Plan and for upholding an important state environmental law. But there was only silence on the punitive $52,000 cost claim.

The good, green people of Progressive Land don't let the law or ethics get in the way of their PC agenda.

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At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reviewing Dennis Herrera's record: First, he now says he advised the city in the beginning to do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan, but his advice was ignored by the mayor and the board of supervisors.

You are sourcing yourself, and linking to a post that says no such thing.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

One of my posts has a link to Murphy's blog wherein you'll find Herrera's confession.

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you quote the confession?

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Murphy has edited his original post to eliminate the confession. I quoted the original in my post last October:

"If you had a time machine, and went back to when Rob Anderson sued the city, what would you do differently." He didn't quite get the subtle context, he answered that he would have insisted on an EIR in the first place, I wanted to know how he might have shepherded the process along faster once the suit was in place. He said that he had told the City to do an EIR, but they were so anxious to get the thing started that they took the shortcut."

Now that Murphy has edited the text it reads:

"If you had a time machine, and went back to when Rob Anderson sued the city, what would you do differently". He gave no meaningful answer

Of course he did give a meaningful answer, but Murphy---and the rest of you bike people---didn't like it, so Murphy changed it. Murphy responded with a comment later the same day I made that post, and, as you can see from his comment, he didn't contradict the quotation I took from his original post.

I'm shocked that Murphy edited his orignal post this way, since in the past he's always seemed sincere but deluded in his adherence to BikeThink.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I was there, he did, in fact, give no meaningful answer.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You mean both Murphy and I made up the contents of the quote I used in my original post and just re-posted in the above comment?

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I mean, you weren't there to deny or confirm what was said. I can't speak to what Murph put in his blog because I didn't write it. Neither did you.

You wear the tin foil hat well.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Murphy can't deny that he wrote what I quoted on my blog. Evidently he heard something different than you did. And then he changed the text of his post to delete Herrera's confession. Why the "tin foil hat" slur? Hard to see where I'm wrong on this.

Of course Herrera---and the mayor, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors---had to know that rushing the Bicycle Plan through the process with no environmental review was against the law. They all just assumed that the city would get away with it. It was really an attempted coup to remodel city streets on behalf of you bike zealots before people knew what was going on. San Francisco progressivism in action!

Typical that you have nothing to say about the City Attorney's ugly tactic of hitting CEQA litigants with bogus "cost" motions, which undermines public access to the courts on environmental issues. Pretty contemptible all around, Mike.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

"Pretty contemptible all around, Mike"

Yeah, alright.

"what will you say?"

I won't have to say anything, your crazy blog will do all the talking.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

He corrected the post since "He gave no meaningful answer".

It is more accurate now.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...


At 3:12 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

Again, Rob, you were not there.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

who cares?

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Summing up: Murphy changed the substance of his blog post, and it's just a coincidence that the original text reflected poorly on our bullying City Attorney and the great, planet-saving bike movement. And neither Sonn nor Murphy have anything to say about the substance of this post, because it's okay when City Hall tries to bully one of your political antagonists.

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it common practice to seek to recoup costs when someone wins a lawsuit?

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

These are CEQA lawsuits, which means that the petitioners have a right to assemble the administrative record to save money. In both of these cases, the petitioners elected to do the record, which means that the city had no right to recoup any costs for doing that. Now the city has to pay my lawyer's fees for the time she spent defeating its failed cost claim from the Bicycle Plan litigation. It was all about punishing us for prevailing in the litigation.


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